The Texas A&M University-Kingsville Javelina football team finished its 2013 season with a 35-27 defeat to the defending Division II National Champions the Valdosta State Blazers.
It was an emotional night for the Javelinas as they said goodbye to 20 seniors on the team. Senior day didn’t end up how they wanted and neither did the season.
The Javelinas finished the season with a 2-8 overall record and a 0-6 Lone Star Conference record, which put the team in last place in the conference. The 2-8 record is the worst record for the Javelina football program since 1983. The eight-game losing streak is the first of its kind in the 89-year history of Javelina Football.
The Javelinas started the game against the Blazers on fire scoring a touchdown on their opening drive. Caleb Bedford connected with Musa Mahmud for a four-yard touchdown pass in the back of the endzone that capped off a 14-play 75-yard drive making the score 7-0 with 8:27 left in the first quarter.
Robert Armstrong found the end zone once again adding to his all-time record in receptions and touchdown receptions with a 11-yard pass from Bedford that brought the score to 14-0 with 1:34 left in the first.
Matt Stoll, senior kicker knocked down a career long 51-yard field goal with 6:34 left in the second quarter to make the score 17-0 in favor of the Javelinas.
The Blazers wouldn’t go quietly into halftime, quarterback Kaleb Nobles scored on a 13 yard run up the middle with 1:46 left till halftime bringing the score to 17-7. Just 13 seconds later Bedford of the Javelinas was picked off on an attempted screen pass by Jeremy Grable for
a 11 yard interception return for a touchdown bring the score to 17-14 with 1:33 left till halftime.
14 points in 13 seconds proved to be the turning point of the ball game.
The two teams traded scores after halftime. Stoll added another field goal for the Javelinas this time a 35-yard attempt that made the score 20-14 Javelinas. The Blazers mounted a nine-play 59-yard drive to give the Blazers the lead off a Cedric O’Neil one yard touchdown run made the score 21-20 with 10:39 in the third quarter.
Armstrong added his last touchdown as a Javelina with a 49-yard strike from Bedford which hit Armstrong in stride and right into the end zone giving the Javelinas a 27-21 lead with 4:11 left in the third quarter.
Armstrong finished the game with five receptions for 106 yards with two touchdowns. Armstrong finished his career with 33 touchdowns receptions an all-time school record.
The Blazers added two more touchdowns to take the lead for good and hold the Javelina offense to zero points in the fourth quarter to eventually win the ball game.
Senior defensive lineman Zane Brown said that despite the tough season he would always be proud to be a Javelina.
“We didn’t go out the way we wanted to; it’s a little emotional right now just seeing the guys that you came in with going our own ways and all that other stuff,” Brown said. “You know you’re going to miss this place you put all you got into it. Four years went by fast; I loved it, every minute of it.”
Armstrong said that the future of this team is bright and believes they can be contending sooner rather than later.
“It was fun; I wouldn’t change going anywhere else for anything. It’s been a great five years of my life. It’s been fun and I wouldn’t change it for the world,” Armstrong said.
“They are going to be good, they are going to be in the midst of winning a conference championship, Caleb Bedford is only going to get better. He is young and got thrown into the fire a little bit. Things will only go up for him, the defense is young and I think they are going to be good next year,” Armstrong added.
Head Coach David Calloway said he is proud of the seniors for leaving it all on the field.
“They went out and they battled they left it all on the field and that’s all you can ask for. We got to move forward and we got to execute that’s the bottom line. We didn’t execute we had miscues in this game and that’s what you get.” Calloway said.
“I’m proud of those guys like I said it was a tough season, tough times don’t last tough people do and they got to keep pushing forward, those guys laid it down for four hard years they just got to keep going forward.”